I know I have expressed it on here before, but let me tell you all over again. I have a very fond and deep appreciation for peas! As I am sure I have told you before, my husband cannot stand them. I really wish he did’t have such a disposition to peas. On the other hand, when he is out for a work dinner, or is away for business, it gives me all the more reason to make some for myself. I indulge in their flavor and beauty and for a moment I feel sound and spoiled. It is definitely a good thing. So when Brian came home and said he had to take a business trip the following week, I was ecstatic. It was Pea Time! I started to think of all the ways I should and could make them…Spanish Pea Soup? Pasta and Peas? Pea Salad? It was right then that I had a strike of brilliance — Fried Peas!!!!
This is a side dish my mom often made. It is super simple to make and was always a favorite of mine, of course. I could still hear her today calling up to my bedroom: “Danielle, I’m making fried peas with dinner. Can you set the table?” I would run down those stairs so fast, and hop into the kitchen to inhale the aroma of onions simmering in olive oil with a bit of red pepper flakes mixed in…heaven to my nose. I would set the table and watch as she would add the peas to the frying pan to sizzle with the onions. Once the peas were heated through and coated in the onion & olive oil mixture she would pour some red wine into the pan. The wine would bubble and fizz along with the peas and she would stir them frequently and as the wine would reduce, it would coat the peas. I would watch her cook the peas and some of them would start to shrivel a bit. She would add a sprinkle of salt in the end and it was ready.
It was not uncommon for my mom to make this on a weeknight, or even as part of a more formal Sunday dinner. It was often served alongside a steak or pork of some kind. We would have it with a tossed salad and most commonly mashed potatoes. I would always get a big serving of the peas since they were my favorite, and I loved the combo of the mashed potatoes with them. I was thinking of all of that as I made the fried peas for myself. I wish I had that meal in front of me, but for the time being it was fried peas and a salad…the mashed potatoes would have to wait. Sometimes people ask if I mind that Brian travels as often as he does. I think they are surprised when I tell them no, I get to eat peas! Some people may never understand, but that is their loss. Fried Peas for dinner – oh yes!!!!
My Mom’s Fried Peas (serves 2 – 3)
2 cups of peas; fresh or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup of small chopped yellow onion
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry red wine
Sea Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
First, place a frying pan (at least about 9 inches round) over medium / high heat. Once pan is heated through add the olive oil and let it warm though. Add the onion to the pan, stirring it frequently. You are looking for the onions to soften and become clear. Be sure to keep an eye on them as you do not want them to brown, you might need to adjust your heat lower if this occurs.
Next, add the crushed red pepper and your peas. Stir it all together. You are looking for the peas to soften a bit…If you are using fresh peas it may take awhile, if you are using previously frozen it will happen quickly.
Finally, once your peas are softened you can add the wine to your pan. Stirring your mixture frequently. Your peas might start to wrinkle or shrivel a bit, this is perfectly normal. Sprinkle them with some sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste and serve.